Daily News

May 14, 1998

Evening Transmission

The Prime Minister says, the Government will finalise its stand as to what extent and in what manner India can adhere to certain provisions of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, CTBT. Replying to queries by newsmen after the janata darshan at his official residence in New Delhi Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee said, he will hold another meeting today to decide with regard to the CTBT. He parried questions as to how the Government intends to face the sanctions being imposed by the international community following the nuclear tests. AIR correspondent adds that the Government in an official statement had made it clear yesterday that India will consider adhering to some of the undertakings in the CTBT. It also said on Monday, that India will strive towards a truly comprehensive international arrangement prohibiting underground nuclear testing of all weapons and related experiments.

China which had so far restrained from commenting on the nuclear tests carried out by India has now come out with a strong reaction warning New Delhi of serious consequences. The Chinese foreign ministry in a terse statement said the Chinese government is shocked and strongly condemns the tests which will have serious repercussions on peace and stability in South Asia and the world at large. The statement said that allegations by India that Beijing posed a nuclear threat to New Delhi are utterly groundless and is a mere excuse to develop nuclear weapons.

The spiritual head of the Tibetan community the Dalai Lama has on the other hand urged India not to be pressurised by developed nations to halt its nuclear programme. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize said in Madison, USA that with the tests, India has proved that it is no longer an underdeveloped nation and it should have the same access to nuclear weapons as developed countries. Although the Dalai Lama stressed that he continues to work for peace and nuclear disarmament, he said that developed nations should not tell third world countries what do with their weapons.

In Russia, the chief of the communist party, Mr. Gennary Zyuganov, has lauded the series of nuclear tests by India. Praising India at a Duma press meet in Moscow yesterday, Mr. Zyuganov called it a great power with which the world has to reckon with. The official Russian view point has already opposed sanctions against India.

Australia is the latest to join the US, Japan and some other countries to impose sanctions against India. It has suspended all defence contracts and withdrawn non humanitarian aid to protest the nuclear test.

The export bank of the United States has decided to stop issuing new approvals of financing for American export to India. An Exim bank release says the sanctions will immediately affect approximately 500 million dollars of U.S. export to India. However, financing for export transactions to India authorised prior to yesterday will not be affected by the sanctions.

Israel has announced the cancellation of its armed forces chief of staff, General Amnon Shahak's visit to India next week.

The Congress Working Committee now meeting in New Delhi is discussing the nuclear tests and the consequent sanctions imposed on India. The meeting will also formulate the party's view on the issue and convey it to the Prime Minister this afternoon.
The Commerce Minister, Mr. Ramakrishna Hegde has said that economic sanctions against India by the United States and some other countries would not affect the flow of investment and trade. Mr. Hegde was participating in a function in Bangalore. Later talking to news persons he hoped that America would not go beyond its precincts to influence the world organisations against India.
The daily New York Times reports that Islamabad is preparing to conduct under-ground nuclear tests possibly from Sunday next. The information collected by US satellite and recent statements by some of the Pak officials are quoted as the basis of report.
The Congress President, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, held discussions with the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee in New Delhi on the Pokhran nuclear tests. The details of the talks are not known, but it is likely that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi will apprise about it to the Congress Working Committee which is now in session. A definite reaction of the Congress party on the nuclear tests is likely to be announced after the CWC meeting.

The Prime Minister is to hold meeting with other major opposition party leaders also later today.

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Afternoon Transmission

Several countries again reacted sharply to the two nuclear tests carried out by India at Pokhran yesterday. While the United States has imposed sanctions on India, Japan, Germany, Sweden and Denmark have either suspended frozen or reduced their aid. However, three major powers, Russia, Britain and France are not in favour of any punitive measures against New Delhi.

President Clinton has imposed a number of economic sanctions. Speaking in Germany, he said, the tests created a new instability in the region. The sanctions would affect US aid and trade with India which is at 7.7 billion dollars in American export and 7.3 billion dollars in Indian imports. Mr.Clinton told newsmen that he is sending a senior diplomat to Pakistan to persuade Islamabad not to conduct its own nuclear tests.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan has said that he is deeply disturbed by the two more nuclear tests carried out yesterday. In a statement, he called for unequivocal assurance from India and all other countries that the international community's norm on nuclear testing and non-proliferation would be adhered to. A UN spokesman said that the Security Council is finalising a statement on the tests.

Japan has suspended its twenty-six million dollar annual grant. It has also threatened to take further punitive measures in response to the second round of nuclear tests. Germany has frozen fresh development aid worth 300 million Deutschmark. Sweden has cut short a three-year aid agreement worth 118 million dollars. Denmark has frozen aid worth 28 million dollars per year.

Russia has said it would not join international sanctions against India. Britain has also ruled out imposition of any immediate sanctions. New Zealand is reportedly considering sanctions. Brazil has also voiced its concern over the test.

The European Union has expressed the view that the tests will threaten regional stability. The South African President, Mr. Nelson Mandela has ruled out punitive action against New Delhi.

China has refrained from making public its reaction to India's second round of nuclear tests. The official machinery appeared to be caught off guard after the Xinhua news agency reported the fresh explosions.

The United States has rejected justifications advanced by India for its nuclear tests. A senior State Department official said this in Washington last night. In his letter to President Clinton, the Prime Minister, Mr. Vajpayee said that India carried out its tests mainly because of the perceived security threats from China and Pakistan. The Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Mr. Karl Inderfurth told a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that India had pointed out to unresolved border problems with China and China's ties with Pakistan. New Delhi also stressed on the continuing hostility of Pakistan and Islamabad's support for terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. In his letter, Mr. Vajpayee assured Washington that India would continue to work with the United States to promote the cause of nuclear disarmament.

The Prime Minister has also written to France, Britain, Russia, Germany, Japan, Bhutan and Mauritius.

The US sanctions against India for conducting nuclear tests are not likely to affect the present flow of foreign investment to the country. However, sanctions will affect external aid. PTI quoting top government sources reports that the US sanctions under the Glenn Amendment are limited to bilateral aid and technology transfers. Bilateral Trade Promotion Bodies have also ruled out any long-term adverse effect of international economic sanctions. The Director of Indo-German Export Promotion Project, Dr. D. Kerbschull said, he does not foresee any major impact on Indian economy and bilateral trade because of these sanctions. The President of the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Binay Kumar said, disruption of trade and development will be temporary.
The Prime Minister, Mr.Atal Behari Vajpayee reviewed the security situation in the wake of nuclear tests conducted on Monday and yesterday. The Defence Minister, Mr.George Fernandes, Home Minister, Mr.L.K.Advani and Finance Minister, Mr.Yashwant Sinha were present at the meeting.
The Prime Minister has said that India is prepared to face sanctions for conducting nuclear tests. Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, however expressed the hope that the countries having excellent relations with New Delhi would not respond to such measures. He was addressing a rally of BJP workers at his residence.
The political advisor to the Prime Minister, Mr. Promod Mahajan has said the Government is not worried about the fall out over the series of nuclear tests as it has taken all consequences into consideration.

(Sound Bite)

"We know that ........ we are prepared".

Mr. Mahajan said, though aid and investment are welcome, they cannot be the basis of the economy.

In the light of varying sanctions and aid cut being announced by the developed world, AIR talked to Dr. Ashok Lahiri, director of the national institute of public finance, New Delhi to know about their impact on the economy. (Sound bite).

"Importance of aid in total balance of payment has decreased overtime. The decreasing importance of aid means that we can weather it. Most important question is how will trade flows and private capital will be affected. Now the trade flows should not be affected as I don't think we have violated any international trade law and hence trade sanctions would not be there. As long as our exports continue to do well, we should be able to pay for the imports. If the economy is reviewed and stock market does well, in spite of sanctions, private capital flow should continue.

The Congress has described the nuclear test as a national achievement. The party spokesman Mr. Ajit Jogi said that the issue should not be politicised. He, however, asked the Government to explain the security perception in view of the series of underground nuclear tests.
The CPI(M) has said that the United States and the western nations have no right to impose sanctions on India as they themselves posses nuclear weapons and have upheld the unequal nuclear order. The Janata Dal has complimented the scientists for conducting the series of nuclear tests but cautioned the BJP led Government not to politicise the achievement.
The NBC TV has quoted the Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif as saying that Pakistan might conduct nuclear tests in a matter of days. According to the TV network, Mr. Nawaz Sharif informed the US President Bill Clinton over phone, that he was under heavy domestic political pressure.